「かれんビー 其ノ陸」 (Karen Bii Sono Roku)
“Karen Bee Part Six”
Everything in this series is just a tease. Just when we think we would finally see Araragi’s fateful kiss with Karen and the consequences on their relationship, the show doesn’t even bother with it other than revealing only half of the poison was transferred over. The teasing didn’t stop there either, as we’re reintroduced to the characters that are masters at it: the tsundere. N-Not that I’m complaining or anything… because Nisemonogatari has some of the most original tsundere characters in anime, including one who turned out to be one of the kinkiest ones of them all.
With Oshino no longer around to guide Araragi, he’s been fortunate to be able to rely on his harem instead for help and advice, even if they help him in the most tsundere of ways, like Shinobu does. Since they’re the ones who are helping Araragi out this time, I’ve really enjoyed the reversal of roles as it has added a great deal of depth to each of the characters. I think as a sequel, one of the best things that this series has done is to keep a great deal of focus on developing all of its characters. This series continues to play to its strengths, avoiding the trap that many sequels fall into which is changing things up too much and going away from what made it a good series in the first place.
Hachikuji, Nisemonogatari’s version of Edogawa Conan, has benefited greatly from the development given to her in this sequel. She continues to surprise me with her profound advice, especially her lines pertaining to adults. One surprising development that I admit I never saw coming is that she’s actually a tsundere. Remember Kanbaru’s theory that Araragi is secretly in love with Hachikuji? I think I’m beginning to understand why she said that, because Hachikuji’s words sting him more than even Senjougahara’s. Who would’ve known that she actually wanted to be sexually harassed by Araragi, and that her “no” was actually a “yes”? Even if Hachikuji does recycle one of Senjougahara’s insults, her inclusion into the ranks of tsunderes is a welcome one nonetheless, and I hope she’ll be back to lend a helping hand in Tsukihi’s arc. I have an uneasy feeling about seeing Hachikuji again though, as Araragi’s parting monologue combined with their farewell scene bathed in white light paints an ominous picture of her future.
On the other hand, we’ve always known Senjougahara is a tsundere, albeit an unconventional one. She did have some more conventional tsundere moments in this episode though (“I’m only polishing these shoes because I want to!”), but they don’t diminish her appeal in the slightest. In fact, her appeal has only increased to even higher level now that we’ve seen more hints of her dere and sensitive sides, like when she’s confessed to in the most
GAR manly way possible. Speaking of that scene, as a guy, I’m was also thinking of killing Araragi out of jealousy, but instead, I think I might just settle for liberally stealing his lines to use in my wedding vows someday.
A tsundere like Senjougahara is always bound to be misunderstood, but I felt that she was even more cryptic in this episode than usual. I’m not sure I understand the logic of revealing her request/condition of Araragi after they take care of Kaiki, but teasing usually is never really a bad thing – the exception being when it’s foreshadowing the death of your boyfriend involving the telescope he gave you for your birthday. Despite all of Senjougahara’s tsundere-ing, she’s right though – her personality is simply another matter right now (which is funny, because her personality is the last thing on my mind while she says this). You can’t help but feel for her after hearing what Kaiki did to her and her family. I agree with her reasoning here – the result of Kaiki’s machinations is not why he should be punished, because after all, her parents were most likely fated to become divorced; rather, it’s the malice behind his actions that deserver her punishment. And more than anything, it’s a chance for Senjougahara to take that last step in resolving her past, which has influenced so much of her identity and personality today. This may be an arc named for Karen, but it can almost be equally thought of as the conclusion of Senjougahara’s arc as well.
This all goes to show that while the tsundere might be derided by some as being a stale archetype, these characters can still be quite original and memorable in the hands of a capable writer. I don’t know if I can ever adequately explain why people love tsunderes, but like Araragi says, sometimes when you love someone (or something) so much, you don’t need a reason to love them.
* Another one of Shaft’s easter eggs
* Haven’t we all wished for a save point in real life?
* Forget Araragi dropping his towel, this is the scene which made Tsukihi realize how much of man her brother is
* Full-length images: 05, 39